With the 2009 All-Star Game officially in the books, the Los Angeles Sparks can resume their regular schedule and make their push for the playoffs. That push begins this week with road games against Chicago Wednesday and Sacramento Saturday.

As it stood at the All-Star break, the Sparks had a record of 4-9 and were two games behind San Antonio for the fourth and final Western Conference playoff spot. Yet, nine of the team’s first 13 games were all on the road, and the second half of the regular season should be more promising with more home games on the horizon.

With Candace Parker back in the lineup and Lisa Leslie not too far away, the solid supporting cast that includes DeLisha Milton-Jones, Betty Lennox and Shannon Bobbitt should have enough firepower for the stretch run.

The trick will be whether the Sparks can improve upon their 1-8 road record; the contests in Chicago and Sacramento will be a good barometer. The Sparks return home to face the Silver Stars on Tuesday.